The US, Philippines should not target China in their security cooperation: expert

(People's Daily Online) 15:46, May 06, 2023

Reacting to the expanded military agreements between the United States and the Philippines, a Chinese expert warned that ever-deepening US-Philippine security cooperation will be a main driver of militarization in the South China Sea, with US deployments in the region, including the growing number of forward bases, larger military exercises, and frequent close-in aerial reconnaissance of China.

In an article in the South China Morning Post on May 3, 2023, Wu Shicun, chairman of the board of the China-Southeast Asia Research Centre on the South China Sea, suggested that the Philippines should neither target China in its security cooperation with the US nor continue to dwell on the South China Sea arbitration case.

On April 3, the Philippine government announced the locations of the four new military bases it had agreed to make available for US forces in February.

Wu explained that the US has made it part of its South China Sea policy to cause a rift between China and the Philippines. The US is planning joint patrols in the South China Sea with the Philippines, which Japan and Australia have been invited to join. It clearly intends to pursue a grey-zone strategy in the South China Sea. The Philippines seems to be a tool in this joint patrol plan, which would only widen its differences with China and trigger a crisis in the South China Sea.

“Once the US begins to access these four bases, things might get out of the Philippines’ control,” said Wu. “ASEAN’s centrality in the regional security architecture, founded on multilateralism, is being challenged by groupings built by non-resident forces, such as the US-led QUAD alliance, AUKUS and trilateral groupings featuring the US and Japan.”

“The US and the Philippines should not target China in their security cooperation,” Wu said, adding that the Philippines provides an important way for the US to shape China’s neighboring environment through Washington’s strategy of “invest, align, and compete.”

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Wu Chengliang)


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